And the winner of best airport food goes to … Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). At least that’s the verdict of The Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), which just awarded Best Food and Beverage Program to the Philadelphia Marketplace at PHL.

Philadelphia Marketplace, which partners with PHL in developing and managing the concessions program, consists of more than 160 food, beverage and retail shops, services and specialty retail units spread throughout the Airport’s seven terminals.

In 2003, the airport received the Richard A. Griesbach Award for “Best Overall Concessions Program.”

For the last two years, Philadelphia International has been renovating Terminals D and E. In mid-December the construction will be complete.

For the last few years a major complaint at PHL has been the need to go through security when transferring between Terminals A, B, and C, to either D or E, or between D and E. With the completed renovations, secured passengers will be able to walk between Terminals, A through E, without going through security again. To get to the stand alone Terminal F, secured passengers can take the Shuttle from either Terminal A or C to Terminal F, without going through security.

The other major complaint at Philadelphia International has been the lack of sufficient security lanes available for Terminals D and E. With the completion of the renovations to the terminals, they will have a combined security screening area with 14 passenger lanes, doubling the available lines.

Also as part of the renovations, the award-winning Philadelphia Marketplace at PHL will add seven new retail outlets and several new restaurants.

The renovations also include an increase of 23 ticket counter positions with larger queuing spaces. The Terminal E Concourse is expanded with a two-level addition at the end of the concourse. The addition will provide hold rooms, concessions, rest rooms and operations space to accommodate three new and four relocated gates. The Baggage Claim area for the two terminals will now be connected and will contain two additional baggage carousels.

PHL has good news about its Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP), designed to add an additional parallel runway, lengthen and enhance existing runways, renovate and improve the airport’s taxiway system and add a number of other improvements.

When the CEP is completed, PHL will have four parallel runways capable of simultaneous operations, dramatically increasing PHL’s capacity and reducing flight delays. At the end of October, about two years late, the FAA finally completed its public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will allow it to at last write the final EIS, and identify its preferred alternative from those proposed. That will shortly thereafter, lead to its final decision which will allow the project to get funding and start construction.

The CEP construction can’t happen soon enough.